Even though the weather says otherwise, basketball season is around the corner. With a new season approaching, the American Athletic Conference is loaded with some of the best returning and new players. With the schedule release sometime this week, the anticipation of which players will show out is high.
Jarron Cumberland #34 Cincinnati
Despite the devastating loss to Iowa during the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2019, The American Athletic Conference Player of the year will return to the Cincinnati Bearcats. Jarron Cumberland’s Junior season was one of the most impressive showcases that the AAC has seen in years. With 33 points during the AAC title game against Houston, the 6’5” guard started all 35 games and averaged 18.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in the 2019 season. Cumberland will return to the Bearcats this season with a special addition, his cousin and grad-transfer Jaevin Cumberland. The Bearcats were front leaders of the AAC in the 2018-2019 season, and there is no reason they should not impressive again this season.
Alexis Yetna #10 USF
6’8” Forward Alexis Yetna returns this season to the Bulls of USF with a lot of accomplishments under his belt. Yetna was not only the AAC Freshman of the year, but he also was able to rack up the most rebounds in AAC history. Yetna averaged 9.6 rebounds per game and 346 total rebounds last season. He was the first Bull in 40 years to receive Freshman honors. Yetna also had 15 double-doubles in the 2018-2019 #10 will be returning this season to the Bulls after starting 34 of the 36 games he played last year, alongside seasoned LaQuincy Rideau (AAC Defensive Player of the year 2018-2019) making the Bulls a dangerous competition in the AAC.
USF redshirt freshman Alexis Yetna (10) and junior Laquincy Rideau (3) lead the Bulls into Game 2 of tonight's College Basketball Invitational (CBI) finals at DePaul. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
James Wiseman #32 Memphis
The expectations are high for the Memphis Tigers following their successful offseason by obtaining the #1 recruiting class along with the #1 prospect, James Wiseman. What 7 foot tall Wiseman lacks in experience, he makes up for in numbers. Leaving high school, Wiseman was averaging 25.8 points. 17.8 rebounds, and 5.5 blocks. Being surrounded by two returning Sophomore Guards, Tyler Harris and Alex Lomax, along with the rest of the #1 recruiting class, James Wiseman is on a fast track to being the AAC Freshman of the year.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Nate Hinton #11 Houston
Nate Hinton played a vital roll in the Cougars' impressive 2018-2019 season. The 6’5” Guard had a breakout freshman season starting in all 37 games. Only 7 other Cougars did so before him. Hinton was named the AAC Freshman of the Week (January 7, 2019) after the Cougars dominated the court against the Memphis Tigers. During that game, Hinton scored his career-high of 19 points with 9 rebounds. Hinton was a member of the 2018-2019 American All-Freshman Team. Despite the Cougars' loss of 3 key seniors (Galen Robinson Jr., Corey Davis Jr., and Breon Brady), the Cougars return 7 scholarship players including F. Cedrick Alley Jr. With this many returning players, there is no reason why Nate Hinton should not be a team leader this upcoming season.
Freshman guard Nate Hinton has averaged 7.3 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and is one of the Cougars’ best free throw shooters on the team. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Daily Cougar
Player of the year: Jarron Cumberland, Cincinnati
Freshman of the year: James Wiseman, Memphis
Coach of the year: Penny Hardaway, Memphis